Gordon Brown has hinted he might allow so me Labour MP's to vote against the new Embryo Research Bill bill so long as he wins the vote anyway. This might be a compromise that works for the Labour party, but it speaks volumes about the politics of the country that so many of our MPs seem prepared to do as they are told by their religious leaders as opposed to making decisions based on the evidence and science.
Imagine the furore if a group of Muslim MPs existed and they chose to vote as their Mullah told them to vote. There would be an outcry. But when the Roman Catholic church sticks its nose in to politics, indeed, when a Scottish Cardinal speaks out with some of the most ill informed rubbish on the subject of embryo research, nobody seems to be that worried or concerned.
Speaking on the radio the other day, the Cardinal of Scotland made a host of unsubstantiated claims that made out that the research on embryonic cells had achieved nothing, would achieve nothing, and that that there were better methods. Quote why scientists are so keen to conduct research using embryonic cells if there are "better methods", he failed to explain.
In much the same way as I would not expect a scientist to have intricate knowledge of the bible, I wouldn't expect a priest to know as much about science as a scientist. But it concerns me that a group of elected MPs should choose to listen to a clergyman lecturing on science rather than a scientist.
One thing is for certain, there are millions of people alive today because of research carried out by scientists in to disease, yet religion chooses to ignore this. Sadly there are some religions that would prefer people to be ill rather than live healthy lives. Perhaps the ill are easier to get in to church as they need to "believe" that they might be healthy in heaven. I'd prefer them to be healthy on earth personally.
I heard the government's proposals the other day referred to by a spokesman for the Catholic church as monstrous. Personally I feel that having serial child abusers in the clergy covered up by the Catholic Church pretty monstrous, but then again it appears that religion can some times be polluted by self interest.
No doubt some will read this and feel I have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church. Actually I don't. I have an axe to grind with any religion that tries to influence the secular nature of government. I also support the disestablishment of the Church of England, which would make us truly secular. I have no problem being of any religious denomination, so long as they realise that it is the way "they" choose to live their lives, but don't try and force it on to me. I really am not interested.